In recent years, Leeds has become a thriving digital hub enjoying rapid growth and expansion, in order to house the increasing demand for both UK-based and international brands looking to relocate to the city.
With the UK’s digital sector accelerating faster than the rest of the economy and turnover of tech businesses within the sector growing by 4.5% in 2016 and 2017 (compared to UK GDP at 1.7%), Leeds is quickly becoming a hub for technology companies.
More and more businesses are migrating to Leeds and the wider Yorkshire area due to the affordability of property to accommodate offices and studios, affordability of housing and cost of living for employees, the easily commutable distance on regular trains to London and improved quality of life due to location and easy access to green areas.
The growing employment opportunities, due to both local and incoming business expansion, has lead to a boost in job openings within primarily the digital, health and fintech sectors. Between 2011 and 2014, employment in the digital technology sector grew impressively, by around 7%, and continues to steadily grow.
There are currently over 3500 tech businesses in Leeds, from established global brands to budding start-ups, there is a wide range of digital companies that only continue to attract even more talented individuals to the area. With this increase, comes an increase in younger talent seeking work experience, internships and graduate positions in the region, with graduate retention increasing year on year.
Compared to other bustling digital hubs such as London, Leeds is one of the more affordable cities in the UK, whilst also offering excellent quality of life. Easily accessible with regular public transport connections, Leeds offers a plethora of smaller surrounding towns and villages to settle in for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Equally, there are a vast range of city centre properties available to suit any budget, if you want to remain at the heart of the action.
Not only is it affordable to live in and around Leeds, it is also considerably cheaper to source commercial property and with brand new office buildings springing up more and more frequently, in highly desirable and easy to reach locations such as the White Rose Office Park, reachable from Leeds city centre by train in around 10 minutes or just off the motorway. A wide range of flexible office space means big and small businesses alike can create an optimum working environment for the employees to ensure they’re effectively motivated and establish a good quality of working life.
From foreign investment to population and business growth, Leeds is quickly growing into one of the cities to watch in the UK. New businesses in the area have been launching at around twice the national average, with technology steaming ahead of other sectors.
As the UK’s largest city region outside of London and the South East, Leeds growth has lead to an increased success in the wider Yorkshire areas, establishing itself as a hub for business and digital in the North.
Increasing interest in the region
Leeds is currently one of the front-runners for the Channel 4 relocation outside of London. Alongside other shortlisted UK cities in the bidding, including Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow, each city aims to showcase what they have to offer, during a second stage process. The following processes include a Channel 4 visit to each of those on the shortlist, a presentation from the host city and a Q&A, allowing for further discussions in order to make a final decision, to be announced in October.
With Leeds City Region still fresh from MIPIM 2018, the presence of LCR at the global event has lead to a increased interest from international investors. Attendance at MIPIM has lead to the city region establishing contact with thousands of industry influencers and investors with connections made through panels, discussion, seminars and one-to-one meetings. These ongoing relationships allow for Leeds City Region to connect with businesses around the world and as a result, has had a great impact on the region’s success at attracting inward investment.
Additionally, White Rose Office Park has recently been chosen to host brand new occupant Perform Media, with Perform Group taking a 40,000 sqft headquarters building on the business park. Joining a great existing roster of clients, which includes HSBC, Capita, O2, HMRC and Gather & Gather, Perform Group employees will benefit from an easily accessible location, off the A6110, excellent public transport access and a plethora of local amenities.